For the past few weeks, Rachel and her husband Mike of TreePot Travels have been exploring North America in their truck. They even sleep in the truck — this is called truck bed camping — I didn’t even know this was a thing!
Naturally, I just had to find out more about this truck bed camping thing. Read on for my interview with Rachel!
Tell me about where you have traveled so far. You lived in Florida Keys for 2 years while you worked and saved. Where were you before that?
Before we moved to Key West, we traveled to and lived in Asheville, North Carolina and Austin, Texas. When we were still living in the Keys, we took a two-week backpacking trip through Costa Rica.
Since leaving the Keys, we have lived in the back of our truck for six weeks, driving up the eastern U.S. to Nova Scotia, house-sat for two weeks in Lunenburg, took a 10-day road trip to Alberta and are now currently house-sitting in Edmonton.
What inspired you to turn a truck into a home?
When we decided that we wanted to travel long term, we realized that we didn’t want to sell our truck. Mike is a mechanic and has put a lot of time into it and so we decided that the best route was to make our truck our new home. We spent a lot of hours online trying to figure out the best way to convert our truck into the perfect truck bed camping home.
How long did it take you to transform the truck? What was your biggest challenge?
Because we didn’t cut into the truck, only added parts to it, the conversion process only took about a month. During this time, we were still working and completed the truck on the weekends.
The biggest challenge was finding a good camper cap. Being so far down in the Keys meant we had to drive four hours north to buy a used one we found on Craigslist, then we had to drive four hours back.
Where have you been and where are you going with the truck?
Next, after our current house sit, is a trip through the Alberta Rockies, into BC and down to Washington and Oregon for another house-sit. Then we plan to explore Northern California. After that, we’re not sure yet, our plans are still up in the air!
What’s the best and worst thing about traveling with your truck?
The best thing is being able to go wherever we want, when we want. We don’t have any restrictions within North America.
The worst? Every now and then, the tight living space gets to be a little much. Thankfully I’m traveling with my husband and not someone I don’t like.
On Twitter, you mentioned a chilly night in Nova Scotia when your heater didn’t work. That sounds like a great story.
The heater worked fine but the wind was passing through the truck bed throughout the night. So every time that the truck bed started to warm up a few degrees the wind would just chase the warm air right out. We just tried to stay warm best we could. Unfortunately, because there was nothing wrong with the heater, there was no way for us to fix the problem, all we could do was wait it out. I can easily say that was the worst night camping.
What online resource would you recommend to someone who wants to do truck bed camping?
Do you plan to find work along the way?
Yes, not sure exactly where or what jobs. At the moment, I freelance a little bit so that helps to offset a few costs. We are hoping to also volunteer when we travel to other countries, which will help us with accommodations and food.
Other than the truck, what do you do to save money?
We save money on accommodations by both truck bed camping and house sitting. As far as food goes, we try to save by only buying food when it’s on sale. It’s hard sometimes as I LOVE Twizzlers! Transport costs are never cheap as we drive a diesel truck and diesel prices are not low.
How do you find house-sitting gigs?
There are many sites offering their services, but the only one that we have used so far is HouseCarers. You go onto their site, pay a fee (covers a year), build a profile and then start going after the sits you want. For more information, check out House sitting: a guide to finding and arranging house sits around the world.
(End of interview.)
Rachel, one half of the TreePot Travels team, is an avid adventurer who can be found camping, hiking, freediving or chasing that perfect picture. TreePot Travels is a site dedicated to bringing adventure travel and nature/wildlife photography from all over the world straight to you.